Ludlam: Saints’ shackles are off for huge Munster test

We sat down with Northampton Saints skipper Lewis Ludlam ahead of a do-or-die weekend for the men in Black, Green and Gold in the Heineken Champions Cup, with a mouth-watering clash against Munster in Limerick on the horizon…Q: What are your thoughts on last Saturday’s defeat at Exeter Chiefs?LL: It was a really frustrating performance from us. We never gave ourselves an opportunity to fire a shot. It’s easy to be emotional, but when you don’t stick to a structure to allow yourself to be emotional within what we’re doing, it’s very hard. We let our structure go amiss a little bit and got over-excited, and that was the reason why it ended up how it did at the end. But I think the really pleasing thing is the attitude the boys have come back with this week to go back to basics, and go back to the things that help our game tick, to give ourselves the best opportunity this weekend.Q: It continued Northampton Saints’ disappointing away record this season, how do you explain it?LL: We’ve obviously struggled away from home a little bit, which again is a frustrating thing. The focus now, going forward, is enjoying the challenge of going away from home. From everything you see in the media and online this week, no one backs us to go to Munster and get a result, which is such an exciting position to be in. To go there as underdogs, when all we need to do is put in a performance to give ourselves the best opportunity, it feels like the shackles are off a little bit and we can go down there, express ourselves and give it a good crack. Q: How are you finding your own form so far this season?LL: I feel like I’ve been going alright. There are loads of things I need to work on, of course. I know I need to work on those things if I want to be considered for the Six Nations, but I think the focus for me now is on performing for Saints. You can over-think things too much and get drawn into over-thinking selection, so for me my focus is on performing at the weekend and being a better player than I was last week. Q: Do you feel you are fully back up to speed now after recovering from the abdominal injury you suffered during the autumn? LL: It probably took me a couple of weeks, naturally, with the injury. It obviously takes a couple of games to get back up to speed, but I’m feeling good. I know I’ve still got a lot more in me to go, but the most important thing is the performance of the team and if the team performs well, then usually the individuals in the team are performing well as well.Q: What do you take out of last month’s match against Munster at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens?LL: It’s basically Test match level when you play these teams in the Heineken Champions Cup. You make one mistake and you’re really punished for it, so that’s a difference, but what is exciting about this competition is you get the chance to go away from home to a different country and see where we compare against some of the best teams in the game.

We sat down with Northampton Saints skipper Lewis Ludlam ahead of a do-or-die weekend for the men in Black, Green and Gold in the Heineken Champions Cup, with a mouth-watering clash against Munster in Limerick on the horizon…

Q: What are your thoughts on last Saturday’s defeat at Exeter Chiefs?
LL: It was a really frustrating performance from us. We never gave ourselves an opportunity to fire a shot. It’s easy to be emotional, but when you don’t stick to a structure to allow yourself to be emotional within what we’re doing, it’s very hard. We let our structure go amiss a little bit and got over-excited, and that was the reason why it ended up how it did at the end. But I think the really pleasing thing is the attitude the boys have come back with this week to go back to basics, and go back to the things that help our game tick, to give ourselves the best opportunity this weekend.

Q: It continued Northampton Saints’ disappointing away record this season, how do you explain it?
LL: We’ve obviously struggled away from home a little bit, which again is a frustrating thing. The focus now, going forward, is enjoying the challenge of going away from home. From everything you see in the media and online this week, no one backs us to go to Munster and get a result, which is such an exciting position to be in. To go there as underdogs, when all we need to do is put in a performance to give ourselves the best opportunity, it feels like the shackles are off a little bit and we can go down there, express ourselves and give it a good crack.

Q: How are you finding your own form so far this season?
LL: I feel like I’ve been going alright. There are loads of things I need to work on, of course. I know I need to work on those things if I want to be considered for the Six Nations, but I think the focus for me now is on performing for Saints. You can over-think things too much and get drawn into over-thinking selection, so for me my focus is on performing at the weekend and being a better player than I was last week.

Q: Do you feel you are fully back up to speed now after recovering from the abdominal injury you suffered during the autumn?
LL: It probably took me a couple of weeks, naturally, with the injury. It obviously takes a couple of games to get back up to speed, but I’m feeling good. I know I’ve still got a lot more in me to go, but the most important thing is the performance of the team and if the team performs well, then usually the individuals in the team are performing well as well.

Q: What do you take out of last month’s match against Munster at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens?
LL: It’s basically Test match level when you play these teams in the Heineken Champions Cup. You make one mistake and you’re really punished for it, so that’s a difference, but what is exciting about this competition is you get the chance to go away from home to a different country and see where we compare against some of the best teams in the game.

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